What should I do if asked to give a statement after an accident?
If you have had an accident in recent months, your insurance claims adjuster may ask for a recorded statement. Sometimes, when you give a statement, it can expedite the investigation, and it can speed up the process of your settlement claim. However, all too often, these statements are used by the insurance company to jeopardize your claim. It may be wise to exercise caution when asked to give a statement and contact an experienced car accident lawyer for assistance.
The Process of a Recorded Statement
After a claim has been filed, an insurance adjuster will likely contact the claimant and get their account of the story through a statement. The adjuster will likely introduce herself and explain the purpose of the call in a friendly, non-threatening manner. At some point during the call prior to recording he or she is required to ask if they have your permission for a recorded statement. If you have been recorded without your knowledge in this kind of scenario, you may want to discuss your options with an experienced attorney.
While the adjuster will mostly let you speak without interruption, he or she may try to clarify with questions. Watch what you say. A sly adjuster will likely ask questions that are intended to weaken your claim. For example, they might try to lead you to admit to some mistake that was responsible (fully or in part) for the accident, or they might say how grateful they were that you didn’t suffer greater injury. In scenarios like these, it’s likely best to avoid personal conjecture and remain true to the objective facts of what happened leading up to, during, and following the accident.
Recorded Statement: Why Do Adjusters Want It?
When the adjuster investigates the events that led up to your injury, they will likely look for inconsistencies. The more versions of the story they have, the easier it is to blur the lines of their liability. As insurance companies are for-profit businesses, if they can obscure their requirement to pay out a claim, thereby protecting their bottom dollar, they likely will.
For that reason, instead of giving a recorded statement, you may be best served by declining and offering a written statement. While it may seem that a written statement still serves the same purpose, if written correctly (sticking to the facts, avoiding personal conjecture, etc.) with the help of counsel, it may be able to help eliminate any ability of the insurance company to deny or delay your claim.
Why Advise Against Recorded Statements?
Generally, it is not recommended to give a recorded statement because you can accidentally say something that will be used to weaken your case. Remember, adjusters have experience and are highly motivated to get you to say something that will lessen your chances of receiving compensation or lower the amount on your claim.
If you have suffered after an accident and are dealing with the claims process in the aftermath, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced car accident attorney for guidance on your specific case.
Thanks to our friends and co-contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight on giving statements after an accident.